The sankirtan hero

Manidhara Das
19 Mar 2018

Getting ready for another day of book distribution, I quickly finished my prasadam, turning back to the four bhaktas cramped together in the back seat of the car. We parked in the corner of a wast public parking lot in middle of a "nectar city". After all, our Christmas marathon just started and we were ready to give our best. Eating very quickly, (a habit which remained with me until today:-) , I packed my books and "to show an example" I did run out of the sankirtan van to the amazement of the still prasadam-chewing bhaktas. (It is a specific habituation of a new bhakta to prolong the prasadam consumption time as he feels that this is "his last meal" before he "gets executed" on the street.:-)

Heroically dashing into the battle field, I realized that it might have been little bit too early, After all… nobody was there. Then suddenly, to my delight, a young girl appeared at the other end of the parking lot, heading my way. I enthusiastically run in full speed across the parking area, waving the book at her. (That was more as 35 years ago:-)

To my amazement she started to run towards me as well. When we finally met she embraced me in an attack of a mystical euphoric feeling, (nowadays there are whole movements for the purpose of embarrassing:-). Then, still in the mood of universal love, she gave me… a kiss.

All this happened so fast that I , Manidhara das brahmacary, remained standing there, stiff and frozen like a scarecrow figure. With the girl hanging around my neck I desperately turned my eyes towards the parked van where four stunned brahmacary bhaktas watched this display of my heroism while spoons were sticking still out of their mouth. Finally I shook that girl off, she didn’t buy a book, and we both went our ways. After few minutes I came to my senses and started to laugh. The pathos of this comical scene completely reflected my own "sankirtan pathos" which, as Krsna showed to me, was entirely artificial.


There is no need of any heroic or extroverted exhibition of our devotional service. Serving Krsna in simple and truly humble expectation of His mercy invites His attention, not our pathetic high sounding charismatic attitude, however sankirtan oriented it might be. As Srila Prabhupada pointed out: “Only sudra advertises his service”.

to illustrate this point more , here comes another story: The rainy day